GCC review yields key recommendations for reform

November 21, 2023 6:24 am

iTaukei Affairs Minister Ifereimi Vasu [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

The Great Council of Chiefs review team has presented a comprehensive set of eight recommendations aimed at revitalizing and reshaping the role of the GCC.

iTaukei Affairs Minister Ifereimi Vasu outlines these recommendations, emphasizing the need for the GCC to be independent, politically neutral, and play a more proactive role in the development and governance of Fiji.

The first and foremost recommendation, according to Vasu, is for the GCC to achieve independence and political neutrality.

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This move is intended to enhance the credibility and impartiality of the Council, ensuring that it operates in the best interests of all Fijians.

The second recommendation proposes the reestablishment of the GCC as a statutory trust under an act of Parliament.

Vasu explains that this legal framework would provide a solid foundation for the GCC’s operations, giving it the necessary authority and structure to fulfill its responsibilities effectively.

A crucial aspect of the proposed reform is the third recommendation, which involves transferring the iTaukei Trust Fund under the new GCC structure.

This step is designed to enhance the financial sustainability of the Council, enabling it to better serve the needs and aspirations of the iTaukei people.

“Four, the GCC be proactive in advocating, directing and oversighting of the toke, interest and aspiration. Five, the GCC maintain and strengthen its advisory function in national building. Six, the GCC champions strongly advocating and set strategic direction on eight thematically areas, namely spiritual wellbeing and service centered good governance and good leadership economic empowerment culture-traditional heritage and resource ownership education, health and wellbeing environment and climate change.”

The sixth recommendation underscores the GCC’s role in championing and setting strategic directions in eight thematic areas.

These areas include spiritual well-being, service-centered good governance and leadership, economic empowerment, cultural and traditional heritage, resource ownership, education, health and well-being, environment, and youth representation.

A notable recommendation is the allocation of non-voting seats to the Christian Church, recognizing the diversity of Fiji’s cultural and religious landscape.

Additionally, the establishment of an implementation team has been suggested to ensure the smooth execution of the proposed reforms.

Vasu conveys that these recommendations were endorsed by members of the Great Council of Chiefs during the Vakaturaga Conference and the iTaukei Affairs Board.

Cabinet has endorses the recommendations in principle, and the Ministry of Itaukei will provide regular updates on the progress.

Addressing the complexity of establishing the statutory trust for the GCC, Vasu emphasizes that the process requires careful consideration and time.

He assures that the government is committed to reinstating the GCC functions and laying the groundwork for the full implementation of the review report.

The Minister for iTaukei Affairs expresses optimism about the future governance by the GCC, envisioning a system characterized by excellence, transparency, and inclusivity.

The ongoing review process, he says is a vital step towards achieving these goals and ensuring the Council’s relevance and effectiveness in the years to come.